On 26th March I was lucky enough to see Tara Brabazon deliver the ISG (Scotland) Annual Lecture.
Portrayed by the media as being 'anti-Google' and a controversial commentator on the digital world her assertion that the Internet isn't a library and Google isn't a catalogue is, unsuprisingly, very much in tune with librarians' thinking.
She states the Internet is far from being an inclusive place where everyone can equally publish and access information. Fair to say, librarians know this and agree.
She highlights there are many in our society who for a variety of reasons are excluded from digital information and describes an information literacy matrix she uses with her students to build an 'information scaffold' enabling them to apply information literacy skills.
To illustrate, she described traditional models of literacy (citing Mary Macken-Horarik's 4 tier model of literacy) as being horizontal (or linear) and using teaching strategies to progress from the easier skills to the harder skills right through to the top tier. All very familiar. But then there's the Internet. A place where people do their online shopping, and routinely cut and paste stuff they think must be accurate because it's in the first page of their Google search results. She went on to describe the movement of information on Web 2.0 tools as "bouncing on the crust of knowledge". People's representation of an event as the story is bounced around the Internet. Where is the truth?
Tara argues the shallowness of this online information seeking behaviour requires an information scaffold to enable us all to apply information literacy skills to the Internet beyond simply how to use particular Web 2.0 tools. In short, she argues information literacy skills are required to take us from the 'how' of Web 2.0 to the 'why'. This is why we need to teach information literacy skills for the Internet.
Tara Brabazon is Professor of Media Studies at The University of Brighton.